Listening to iPod via PC
August 24, 2006 10:38 AM   Subscribe

How can I listen to my mac-formatted iPod through my PC at work?

I have a mac-formatted iPod (5G, FWIW) that I would like to be able to plug into the USB port on my PC at work and listen to via a program such as PodPlayer, which is installed on the iPod and run from the PC. However, when I try to plug in my 'Pod to any PC, it tells me that the drive is not formatted, and that I have to reformat it to make it readable.

So - do I need to reformat the iPod on my mac so that it can be read by Windows? Is there a way to do this that lets me to use my iPod as normal on the mac, but also allows files on it to be read by a PC?
posted by rossination to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
Best answer: Your Mac will read and write to any FAT32-formatted hard drive.

When you format your iPod with the Windows iPod software, your iPod is formatted as a FAT32 drive.

iTunes on your Mac will happily read from and write to your Windows-formatted iPod.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:40 AM on August 24, 2006

I have the same issue, so I just plug my PC's speakers into my iPod when I'm at work and listen to it that way.
posted by jdl at 10:41 AM on August 24, 2006

Response by poster: So, Blazecock, I could reformat my iPod with, say, my girflriend's PC, then plug it into my Mac and put my music on it? Wouldn't my computer reformat it in transferring the music over?

Sorry to be a total idiot about this. I'm sure that no one on the Internet likes helping people with iPod problems.
posted by rossination at 10:43 AM on August 24, 2006

Best answer: Format the IPOD on a PC (you will lose all your music). The Mac will read the PC formatted IPOD just fine, and then both your work PC and MAC will be able to use the IPOD just fine.
posted by SirStan at 10:46 AM on August 24, 2006

Best answer: Wouldn't my computer reformat it in transferring the music over?

Nope. Your Mac will only reformat the iPod if you run either of the iPod Software Updater or the Disk Utility applications.

iTunes will not reformat any iPod — it'll treat your clean, Windows-formatted iPod like any new iPod and copy over your music.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 AM on August 24, 2006

Response by poster: But wait! My friend gave me a bunch of music that he downloaded from Napster in '98 and I haven't updated my iPod in a long time, so will I lose all my sweet Weird Al tracks??????!!!111

Just kidding. Thanks for the [quick!] help, everyone - I will reformat on a PC and then give it another go tomorrow.
posted by rossination at 10:49 AM on August 24, 2006

I am not sure about Mac, but there are alternative applications for the PC that will let you copy music OFF your ipod.
posted by SirStan at 10:52 AM on August 24, 2006

Senuti is one such (free) mac app for offloading files from your 'pod.
posted by misterbrandt at 11:07 AM on August 24, 2006

Last I tried this, FAT32 reading/writing to a Windows iPod from iTunes on the Mac was far slower than a native iPod. It works fine, but be careful.
posted by neustile at 11:28 AM on August 24, 2006

to second neustile, it takes for-freakin'-ever for my PC-formatted iPod to be recognized by my Macs (but works fine after that). and new software updates will have to be installed via PC. other than that, it works good.
posted by mrg at 11:49 AM on August 24, 2006

Uh, forgive me for being obvious but: couldn't you just plug in your speakers into your iPod and listen to it that way?
posted by moxyberry at 1:42 PM on August 24, 2006

Response by poster: Moxy - I could do that, but I like being able to (1) control the volume quickly with the buttons on my keyboard, and (2) sometimes Outlook's annoying little new message beeps are actually useful. Most of the time they aren't, but, you know.
posted by rossination at 3:26 PM on August 24, 2006

Just use an audio cable and the line-in port on your PC, that way you can have PC sounds, and control the volume via keyboard.
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:54 PM on August 24, 2006

My solution would be to get a MP3 player that runs off flash memory, holds 2 Gig, costs $25, and will play hooked up to anything without you having to do anything but plug it in. Oh yeah, and you can use any software or just explorer to add and remove files from it. Of course, that means you'd have to tear up your hipster membership card, but hey...
posted by Mr. Gunn at 5:05 PM on August 24, 2006

Neat freeware app you can use to mimic iTunes on your PC is Pod Player from iPodSoft.

"It allows you to play music from your iPod while it is connected to your PC. When launched, it will look for an attached iPod and when it finds one it will read the music database on the iPod. You will then be able to views your songs in a similar way as in iTunes (by artist, genre, album, playlist, etc)"
posted by 543DoublePlay at 5:15 PM on August 24, 2006

Yeah, I think he knows, as it was linked in the question...
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:42 PM on August 24, 2006

Whoops. sorry for the mispost, will pay closer attention in future.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 3:17 AM on August 25, 2006

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